How I Accidentally Bought a Tiny Orchard

Last night I got in a deep swirl of Google-ing, as I suspect we all do from time to time. It started off innocently enough…. for some reason I was wondering if almonds grew on trees or in the ground.

So I hopped on my phone, and in 20 minutes the following series unfolded:

  • Oh! They grow on trees! Interesting!
  • Hey! There’s a variety for my planting zone!
  • …and this farm in Missouri has a sale right now!
  • … they sell apple trees too! I’ve been wanting those!
  • aaaaaand I’ve ordered 3 apple trees and an almond tree

To be honest, my plan was to eventually get apple trees for the new house anyway. But my plan was also to watch the land and sunlight for a year and then order them next summer. But it takes like 2-5 years before they even start baring (bearing?) fruit. So I  might as well plant them next week. The day after we move in. I’m pretty sure I know where my shovel is packed…

I am so freaking excited about this though! I ended up ordering them from Stark Brothers. They have a ton of helpful reading and video tools, a long history of success, and great reviews.

I ended up with one each of the following:

  • Golden Delicious (semi-dwarf, self pollinating)
  • SunCrisp (semi-dwarf, with pollinate with the ginger gold variety well)
  • Ginger Gold (semi-dwarf, will pollinate with both the other two well)
  • Hall’s Hearty Almond (self pollinating)

apple trees - stark brothers

 

They’re being shipped as root-ball trees…. meaning there’s no dirt in the pot. From what I can tell this means I’ll need to soak them in a bucket for about 4-5 hours they ease them in to the sunlight and temperature before putting them in the ground.

 

Any tips for me? Any of you all grow fruit trees?

Less Than Two Weeks

At the time I’m writing this, we are 12 days away from leaving our Little Green House and moving in to Big Blue Cape. Holy cow!

I am filled with so many mixed feelings these days. As moving day gets closer I get more and more excited about our new house, and more and more emotional about handing  this home over to someone else.

empty sun room

I’ve been living in our current city since I turned 17- I moved here for college and basically never left. That makes 13 years here (in 4 different locations: college dorms, 2 apartments, then this house). Before moving here I grew up in another, even larger, city. So our move out of the city and in to the suburbs fills me with a lot of anxiety… which is weird, because I think I’m supposed to find it relaxing to move to the suburbs? I don’t. I have no idea where the gas station is there. And there’s not a real grocery store. And I think Target is going to be like 30 minutes away. I’m going to need to GPS myself to and from work for at least a month. I keep wondering about back roads and short cuts to places, but then I realize the whole town is like one big back road and there’s no short cuts because there’s nowhere to go!

On the other end of things though, we have so much land and space that I’m excited about. This move is meant to be our long term move, we’re hoping to be in this house for 20+ years. Which means I’ll have time to establish a good sized garden, and apple trees, and bird houses. Maybe even beehives someday if we (…I) get ambitious. We’ll have room for more foster dogs, and eventually I just want to adopt a bunch of senior citizen homeless dogs and there’s so much room for them to live happily with us. Our new town has over a dozen bodies of water, many open to the public, and lots of hiking and trails. We talk about getting bikes to scoot around on (that’d be a sight!). And walking to the liquor store/ice cream parlor (yes, they are one in the same). And buying canoes! We have already ordered a 12×16 shed and it’ll be delivered a day or two after we move in.

empty kitchen

It’s all very bittersweet. I must admit, I cry a little thinking about leaving this house but then I open up a picture of our new home and I can’t believe I get to live somewhere so nice.

As far as moves go, this has been pretty stress-free, albeit rushed and overwhelming. We decided to rent a PODS until for a month to help with the move, so we’ll have had 3 weeks to slowly load it up and then a week to unpack it at the new house. We also have a few friends on deck to help us moving day so in addition to the storage unit I think we’ll have 5-6 SUV/truck loads to bring over.

empty living room

Suffice it to say, I think things will be a bit quiet here on the ol’ blog while we finished packing here and start unpacking at the new house. We’ve got internet set up scheduled for June 2nd so I will be popping back in then with an update on our new pad!

In the meant time tell me… have you ever sold your house? What’s with all the feeeeels?! Let’s talk about this.

 

 

How We Sold Our House in 72 Hours

I’m just going to throw out there that at least 60% of selling our house so quickly was sheer luck and scarcity of options in the market. At the time we listed there were only two other houses on the market in our area, one of which was a short sale, and we were all priced within a few thousand dollars of each other. This made our timing absolutely spot on and perfect.

I have loved our house hard for the past 4.5 years, and moving is extremely bittersweet for me. However, because I’ve loved it so hard there was not a lot to be done to get list ready… in fact, we got list ready in 48 hours. So if you’re doing the math there, we prepped to list, listed, and sold all inside of 5 days.

front of house

Here’s the top five things I did to sell our house at lightning speed:

  1. I cleared as many surfaces as possible. I wanted everything neat, clean, and uncluttered. Which means I have an entire box of metallic skulls in my bedroom closet and a laundry bag of weird family heirlooms and breakables shoved in the back of a closet. Kitchen table, side tables, end tables, and nightstands were all made knick knack free.
  2. I depersonalized. This was not a hard task for me because I really don’t like to have pictures of us around anyway, but it matters. Also, I’m a big believer that art goes on walls and pictures go on shelves, so depersonalizing also worked double in clearing surfaces for us.
  3. I de-pet-ified our house. There is no real hiding that we have 3 cats and 2 dogs, but we washed and swept the floors like mad, we burned candles on each floor so the kitchen smelled like blueberries and the bathrooms smelled like fresh linen and the bedrooms smelled like cucumber melon.
  4. I left some personality out and about. There is a difference between depersonalizing and leaving your house stark empty. When you walk in our home, no matter how clean and tidy it is, it is clear that humans live there and love it. I think it’s important to make sure your home gives off a vibe that people are happy there, that they care enough to clean scuff marks off the wall and that invest money in upgrades that don’t really matter because it’s what they freaking feel like.
  5. I listened to my real estate agentBefore we listed she walked through the house and made suggestions and I corrected everything single thing I possibly could in the 48 hour window we had. This means I finished the half bath, painted the basement stairs, scraped and painted a ceiling, organized the closets, and replaced light fixtures.

It was an exhausting week- but totally worth it! We move to our dream home May 31st:)

(Literally) Moving On

If you’ve been following along here for the last few weeks, you know we’ve had a whirlwind of feelings and events around possibly moving. Things are a bit more settled now, so I thought I’d give a general update on where things are at.

outside of house

Week 1

  • Sunday: Went to an open house and fell in love!
  • Wednesday: Got pre-approval letter from our bank.
  • Thursday: Offered on the house we wanted, listed our house
  • Thursday night: our house had a showing already!
  • Saturday: Our house had 5 more showings (no open house!)

kitchen2

Week 2

  • Sunday: We had three offers, worked with our realtor to choose one
  • Monday: Finished negotiations on our house, accepted an offer
  • Tuesday: Finished negotiations on the house we want, our offer was accepted
  • Wednesday: Inspections scheduled for our house and the house we want

living room

Week 3 (this week!)

  • Monday: Inspection on our current home! It went great!
  • Wednesday: Inspection on the home we want! IT went great!
  • Thursday: Negotiations for inspections are underway, but we don’t foresee any issues

backyard

Week 4 (next week!)

  • Monday:  Purchase & Sale for our current house is scheduled!
  • Wednesday: Purchase & Sale for the house we want is scheduled!

genMid.71971477_28_1

So yeah- holy cow! We’re tired.

….but isn’t our new home cute? I’m still holding my breath that it all works out, but I am very optimistic. 

 

Operation: Get List-Ready

So last week when I was all we’re just looking and we don’t plan on moving for a year. I don’t know who I was kidding. Have I met me? Because I am excitable. And a bit impulsive. And, luckily, financially responsible enough to handle my impulsiveness.

We found a house we want to offer on. And realistically, we are probably not going to end up with it because we have a lot to do to get in gear and someone else will most likely swoop in before us. However, that gave us the kick in the butt we needed to move forward with getting pre-approval and wrapping up house projects that need to be done so we can list when we find another house we love.

If by some magnificent chain of events we do get this house it means:

  • I meet with the bank today to get our pre-approval (scheduled!)
  • We sign a bunch of paperwork about listing our house (done!)
  • We list our house TODAY (oh my.)
  • We get ready for showings to begin Friday (OH! MY!)
  • We sell within the next two weeks? (WHATTTTTTTT!)
  • We move within the next two-three months? (AHHHHHHHHHH!)

Hold on one second while I have a panic attack at that rapid turn of events. Does anyone have a paper bag I can breathe in to?

In a more realistic chain of events:

  • I meet with the bank today to get our pre-approval
  • We find out other offers have been made on the house we want
  • I spend about two weeks (as opposed to 48 hours) getting repairs/updates done to our current house
  • We keep looking and pounce when we find another house to love
  • Everyone gets to sleep and eat as normally scheduled

In regards to our current house, this means I need to finally wrap up all the not-so-fun projects I’ve been procrastinating on for ooooooh about four years:

  • Scrape and sand and paint the hallway ceiling (I may have scraped and sanded it at 7:30pm on Monday night, in my work clothes, in a mad surge of energy)
  • Paint the damn basement stairs already
  • Finish the damn half bath already
  • Probably pack up all my weird trinkets and year round Halloween decorations (sad face.)
  • Get an electrician in to fix some small things that we’ve just gotten used to (I have one booked!)
  • Get our bathtub re-glazed because it’s so sad and impossibly dingy (I’ve emailed around to get quotes!)

 

So yeah, that’s were I’m at. An all-encompassing-obsessive-panic that is probably driving my husband nuts and definitely makes my lovely real estate agent question my sanity. That is most likely all for no reason. Unless it isn’t. In which case, I need that paper bag again.

 

Side note: If anyone who knows me in real life needs a real estate agent, I have a fantastic one whose info I would love to share with you.

 

 

House Hunting & Lessons Learned

If you follow me on Instagram you notice we’ve been poking around looking at houses and seeing what’s out there. Realistically, we’re not looking to move until next spring/summer- but we’re keeping our eyes open and popping in to open houses just in case we find something we love earlier.

Our goal is to find 1-3 houses we really like and then put our house on the market. I think it’ll sell quickly, and I have a profit in mind that I think we should easily make. We are not in a position to carry two mortgages at once if our house doesn’t sell and we’re also not really in a rush to move. We want to be super deliberate with this move in hopes that the next house we buy will be our 30-40 year home.

1900 Victorian home

Lesson 1: The bigger the house, the more of the land it takes up.

I know, right? HOW did I not realize that! This 1900 renovated Victorian was bananas gorgeous and I was obsessed with it. It looks like a cake for crying out loud! I had the whole thing decorated in my mind. I needed this adorable house. What I didn’t realize was that even though the plot of land it sits on is about what we have now (.25 acres), it’s double the size of our current house sooooo it ate up all the land. No bueno- we have dogs that need room to run and also one of the main points of us moving is to have more space away from neighbors.

waterfront cape home

Lesson 2: I would give up almost all of my “must haves” for a waterfront home. But not all of them.

I wanted to love this little pond front home so much. I mean THAT VIEW! AM I RIGHT?! I can give up just about everything on my “must have” list to live on water, but I can’t give up everything and also have to put in about $15k. The kitchen was small and needed to be gutted, the finished basement was too small for the movie room my husband wants, 2 of the 3 bedrooms were super tiny, and space for the dogs was limited (this house is sideways on the plot, so what you’re seeing LOOKS like a front yard, but it’s actually a side yard and would be really awkward to fence). And honestly, I could get over all those things to wake up on a lake everyday… But in addition to those missing pieces it also needed a paved driveway, landscaping around the paved driveway, privacy fencing from the neighbors, and to be painted. Ooof. Driveway, landscaping, fencing, and paint on top of a gutting (and possible adding on to) a kitchen is more than we can financially handle right now.

red colonial home

Lesson 3: I need an open concept. 

Look at this cute all American home! The curb appeal is lovely, the neighborhood was fantastic, the yard was great. But a traditional Colonial is not the right fit for us. This house had an awkwardly long living room that I don’t know how on earth you’d arrange. It had four bedrooms, but really the square footage for three so you would have needed to knock down a wall and redesign. The hallways were too skinny (and honestly, I don’t really want hallways at all). Perfect for someone else, but just not us.

 

We have a lot more lessons to learn I’m sure, but I think we know what town is calling our name (sorry mom, it’s 15-20 minutes further away) and we’re honing in on the style we want (I would murder someone for a Victorian, but we’re probably going to end up with a cape). The search continues! What’s on your “must have” list? What tips do you have for us??

Slow Cooker Chili Recipe

It’s been a hot minute since I posted a recipe on here, but those of you that have been around for a while you may remember I use to post one per month. I even have a whole tab at the top of the page {here} dedicated to recipes. I thought I’d get back on the horse with a nice mild chili recipe today, seeing as there’s a big game coming up and you may want something easy and hearty to serve.

crockpot mild chili recipe - easy and healthy

I like to call this recipe Kitchen Sink Chili because I put a ton of good stuff in it and it makes enough to feed about 10-12 people. It’s also great as a vegetarian option because there’s so much in there you can just subtract the beef and the consistency will still be fine.

Ingredients:

  • 1 orange pepper, 1 yellow pepper, 1 jalapeno pepper (cubed)
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 12oz can tomato paste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can corn niblets (drained)
  • 1 can red kidney beans (not drained!)
  • 1 can black beans (half drained)
  • 1 can pink beans (drained)
  • 1 can green pigeon peas (drained)
  • 2 dollops sour cream
  • 5 shakes cumin
  • 1-2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 packet mild chili powder
  • Shredded cheddar cheese

How to make: 

  • Cube your 3 peppers the night before and store in a container in the fridge- this helps the jalapeno juices mix in with the others
  • Mince your red onion (I use a food processor for this) the night before, and add 2 cloves crushed garlic to it- also in the fridge the night before
  • Brown your ground beef and mix in 2 cloves garlic and chili powder packet
  • Stir everything into a slow cooker, cook on low for 6-7 hours
  • Enjoy!

vegetarian option chili

Food photographer I am not, but pop this chili in a bread bowl and I promise you will be happy.

My husband and I like different levels of “hot” in our food, so we added in hot sauce to taste while eating, along with cheddar cheese. You can also salt and pepper to taste, of course.

Other optional add ins: 

  • basil, parsley, oregano (I used diced tomatoes with these seasonings already in it)
  • a second jalapeno! (I may do this next time for a bit more kick)
  • Sriracha (for a good, sweet hot)
  • shredded chicken instead of, or alongside, beef

What else do you add to your chili?